our 4yr old hit our cat. need advice! bc of new baby? cause & effect curiosity? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 12-21-2012, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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This morning while my (just turned) 4yr old was out of my sight (or so he thought!), he walked up behind our cat and hit him on the back.  I immediately intervened.  My son has always been a very sweet, compassionate lil guy. So this morning's event came as quite a shock to me. Was this cause & effect curiosity? Did this have to do with our new baby? Baby girl is 3mo old. And our son adores her. He wants to be with her, loving on her, caring for her, constantly! We haven't had any issues with jealousy except for very minor things.

I'm assuming my son hit kitty for the reaction from cat. He has been chasing after kitty lately...the cat's reaction cracks him up!  We keep discussing why this is not okay, but its not deterring our son. We've even talked about giving kitty a new home if we cant be nice to him. That thought is soon forgotten as my son is back at chasing again. Kitty is beginning to scratch/bite more. I really don't want to give our sweet kitty away, but will if i have to, in order to keep kids and kitty safe. So, whatever the reason for hitting kitty, how can i curb the behavior?

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#2 of 5 Old 12-21-2012, 10:07 AM
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How about giving your son the chore of taking care of the cat?  Like feeding it, brushing it...perhaps not changing the kitty litter, but maybe holding a bag for you as you do it?  

My son was "herding" the guinea pigs in their cage, which was terrifying them, and it seemed to help when I gave him something to do with the guinea pigs that was more constructive, like feeding them.  

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#3 of 5 Old 12-21-2012, 10:53 AM
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My four yr old can be pretty rough with our cat. It's gotten better over the years, but there are times when he'll pet him too roughly, or even pull his tail. I agree with the PP-- giving my son cat chores helped a lot. That way he feels like he's taking care of him.


This might be harsh, but if the cat reacts with scratching/biting when your son is rough, it might not be the worst lesson for him to learn. Our cat is extremely gentle and puts up with a lot. But sometimes he hisses or makes a move to scratch (rarely actually does it) and it scares the kids and then they don't do that behavior any more.

Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)

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#4 of 5 Old 12-21-2012, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for replying!

My son is in charge of keeping kitty fed & watered, which he seems to take pride in...at least half the time! lol  Kitty is usually very patient....sometimes i think too patient. He gives classic signs of annoyance (tail flicking, ears back,etc)...then leaves if still bothered...and then finally swats w/ retracted claws or a warning bite. But lately he's had enough and is scratching.  Unfortunately on my son's head/face. Try as I may i cannot keep that boy from getting face to face with kitty!  Maybe it's the boy in him, but once the boo boos have been tended and the tears have ceased, my son is right back at it!  I fear kitty will scratch his eyes, or will come to fear/hate children.  My husband & I have tried mannnny times to explain that kitty is telling him to stop/leave him alone when he displays these warning signs,but he doesnt seem to get it and is just amused by kitty's funny faces/behavior.  we've never had problems with our son hitting anyone. H will tell you its wrong to hit people & animals, but....  

What to do now?? We're pretty much out of ideas.

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#5 of 5 Old 12-22-2012, 05:00 AM
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What else do you do when he's rough with the cat? Besides talk?

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